Fox News v. McCain

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

10/25/2007

Status: 

Pending

Location: 

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
Senator John McCain's presidential campaign broadcast an advertisement on television and on McCain's website featuring an eighteen-second video clip excerpted from the GOP presidential debate that had been broadcast on the Fox News Channel the week before. In the... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John McCain 2008 (Senator John McCain's presidential campaign)

Type of Party: 

Large Organization
Media Company

Type of Party: 

Organization

Location of Party: 

  • New York
  • Delaware

Location of Party: 

  • Arizona
Description

Senator John McCain's presidential campaign broadcast an advertisement on television and on McCain's website featuring an eighteen-second video clip excerpted from the GOP presidential debate that had been broadcast on the Fox News Channel the week before.

In the clip, McCain derides democratic rival Senator Hillary Clinton for attempting to earmark $1 million for a Woodstock Museum, commenting that he was "tied up at the time" (referring to the fact that the 1969 festival occurred during his detention in Hanoi as a prisoner of war). The Fox News logo is visible at the bottom left hand corner of the screen in the McCain advertisement.

The advertisement was posted on McCain's website, and was broadcast on television in New Hampshire and during a pre-game show before the World Series baseball game between the Red Sox and the Rockies on October 25, 2007.

Fox News faxed a letter to McCain's campaign on October 25 2007, alleging that the use of the footage infringed Fox News' exclusive rights under section 106 of the Copyright Act. The letter demanded that the McCain campaign stop using the footage in any media, including on the Senator's website.

McCain's campaign has responded with a statement that the use of the short piece of footage constituted fair use and has refused to take the ad down from the Senator's website. Fox News has responded publicly that the use of the footage was not fair use because it was used for a "commercial purpose," namely fundraising.

The repurcussions of this dispute have been widely felt. Fox News sent letters to other Republican presidential hopefuls spelling out its policy that debate footage cannot be used in political advertisements. This has drawn sharp criticism from both ends of the political spectrum, including left-leaning blog Moveon.org and right-leaning blog Redstate.com. Critics point out that NBC, CNN and ABC have agreed to make their debate footage available for re-publication.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Video

Publication Medium: 

Broadcast
Website

Subject Area: 

  • Copyright
  • Fair Use
Court Information & Documents

Source of Law: 

  • United States
CMLP Information (Private)

CMLP Notes: 

jill button edited

Status checked on 6/4/2008, no new information.  The offending ad is still on the McCain site, though. (AAB)